Reliance Jio, the new entrant in the Indian telecom sector grew rapidly thanks to the company’s cheaper data plans and free calling service. However, the company has now announced that it will start charging users for making phone calls.
Jio has announced that the company will now charge 6 paise per minute for voice calls, reneging on a promise to keep voice calls free for its customers. This also seems to be a step that could start the end of the tariff war among the network operators.
The company has said that it “has been compelled most reluctantly and unavoidably” to do this following the decision of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to review the date for scrapping interconnect usage charge (IUC) from 1 January 2020.
In a statement, the company said: “For all recharges done by Jio customers starting today, calls made to other mobile operators will be charged at the prevailing IUC rate of 6 paise per minute through IUC top-up vouchers till such time that Trai moves to zero termination charge regime.”
The company said for all the outgoing calls to other mobile operators, Jio users will have to buy an additional IUC top up voucher from tomorrow. Post-paid customers will also be billed at 6 paise per minute for outgoing calls with increase in free data entitlement.
As said, the company will compensate customers by providing free additional data of equivalent value based on the customer’s IUC top-up voucher consumption to ensure there is no increase in tariff.
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Do note that these charges are not applicable on calls made by Jio users to other Jio phones and to landline phones. Also calls made using WhatsApp, FaceTime and other such platforms remain free. Incoming calls from all networks will continue to be free on Jio.
Thanks to this move of charging outgoing calls for the Jio users, major operators like Airtel and Vodagone Idea will now have a sigh of relief as the companies were bleeding money in efforts to compete against Reliance Jio.
This move comes three weeks after Trai floated a fresh consultation paper to see if there is a need to revise the applicable date for scrapping IUC because of imbalance in inter-operator traffic.